Steve Tasker, former Buffalo Bill from the great 90’s teams and best special teams player of all time to never kick a ball, sat down with BuffaLowDown for an exclusive interview to talk about the Bills, the future of their franchise and the rest of the league.
BuffaLowDown: Working at CBS, you get to see the Bills from a national perspective. What is the perception of this current Bills’ team?
Steve Tasker: People have seen this Bills team play hard and can see that they are getting better. However, not much consideration is given to them as a team to fear losing to, as most teams consider them a team they should beat.
BLD: What do you think the Bills need to turn this team around?
ST: Most really good football teams only have a handful of truly great players. All else is dead even. The real important stuff takes place during the week. Most games are won or lost on Monday through Saturday. Every team comes out and plays hard on Sundays, and every team can beat any other team on a given Sunday. The margin between the teams is so slim in this league.
BLD: What made the 90’s Bills teams so special?
ST: Those 90’s teams worked very hard and were very close knit. We just knew what it took to win and we could prepare for it. Times were different back then though, because free agency wasn’t around like it is today, and we could get more comfortable with each other because you could keep your players.
BLD: Who do you think are the real contenders in the league this year?
ST: I think the Kansas City Chiefs are constantly getting better. Pittsburgh is a contender with their defense. Baltimore is more offensive this year, though there defense is not what it once was. For New England, anytime you have Tom Brady you have a chance. Indianapolis really hasn’t had any success running the ball and without that I’m not sure they’re a contender, and I think the Jets really lack discipline which will come back to haunt them against the better teams in this league.
BLD: You think the Chiefs are legitimate contenders?
ST: They can run the football and their defense keeps getting better every week. I think they’re definitely contenders.
BLD: You get to work with the great Gus Johnson every week, and he has a pretty good following among the fans. What is like working with him?
ST: Gus is the best. I think he’s so well-liked because he has a real enthusiasm and he loves the game. His excitement is genuine, and he can’t even help it. We called the Jacksonville-Houston game (in which Jacksonville won on a Hail Mary on the last play) and we were high fiving in the booth and papers were flying everywhere. He’s a great partner and a great play-by-play guy. He makes the game better and people can tell.
BLD: Being a part of this franchise, you know about the concern people have about the team’s long term future in Buffalo. Do you think the Bills can stay in Buffalo?
ST: I hear it like everyone else does, and I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I have enough experience with Ralph to know that he’s a real forward thinker.
The Bills were in a situation back in 1999 where there stadium lease was expiring. Ralph realized he couldn’t get 200 million at once, so he got 10 or 15 million each year. He was a decade ahead, making sure the franchise remained viable for 20 years. You look around and there’s new facilities, the luxury boxes, the M+T Bank suites, and that’s all thanks to Ralph.
There was a situation where they couldn’t get the Oakland Coliseum renovated until the team was in L.A. and the Coliseum (stadium where L.A. Raiders played) was falling apart, and you’ve seen what’s happened with that franchise.
I would be shocked if there wasn’t a plan in place after (Ralph) is gone. I don’t know this for a fact, but I wouldn’t be surprised if something was already (in place).
It was reassuring to hear that Steve was pretty confident that the Bills have a future in Buffalo after Ralph is gone. The BuffaLowDown would like to thank Steve Tasker for taking the time out to grant us this exclusive interview.